Sonya Borrero MD MS

Director, CONVERGE; Professor of Medicine

Sonya Borrero, MD, MS, is a tenured Professor of Medicine and the Founding Director of the Center for Innovative Research on Gender Health Equity (CONVERGE). She is an internist and health services researcher whose work strives to advance reproductive health equity. Her research has been funded continuously by the NIH for the past 15 years and uses multiple methods and disciplinary approaches to understand the multilevel factors that influence reproductive decision making and access to sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception and abortion care. Her work has focused on socially marginalized populations to inform social, clinical, and policy interventions that will support all people’s reproductive autonomy and their ability to build the families they desire.

Her current projects include optimizing pre-pregnancy and contraceptive care provision within the VA Healthcare System; developing patient-centered digital tools to support reproductive decision making and facilitate provider provision of patient-centered family planning care; expanding contraceptive and abortion access in PA; and advancing understanding of how social and structural factors and inequalities shape and constrain people’s reproductive choices and agency. 

Education & Training
BA, Amherst College, 1996
MD, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, 2001
Internal Medicine Residency, University of Pittsburgh, 2004
General Medicine Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
MS, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
Excellence in Medical Student Research Mentoring Award, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2014
Distinguished Research Mentor Award, Institute for Clinical Research and Education (ICRE), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2018
Midcareer Research Mentoring Award, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2019
Excellence in Government Gold Award in Outstanding Contribution to Science, Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board, 2020
Beacon of Science Award, Society of Family Planning, 2020
Representative Publications

Borrero S, Frietsche S, Dehlendorf C. Crisis pregnancy centers: faith centers operating in bad faith. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2019;34(1):144-145.

  • Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that provide pregnancy-related counseling and support from an antiabortion perspective. While crisis pregnancy centers have a right to exist and can provide valued emotional, spiritual, and material support for some women, they often engage in practices that are dubious, even unethical.

Borrero S, Callegari LS, Zhao X, Mor MK, Sileanu FE, Switzer G, Zickmund S, Washington DL, Zephyrin LC, Schwarz EB. Unintended pregnancy and contraceptive use among women veterans: The ECUUN Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2017;32(8):900-908.

  • While rates of contraceptive use, unmet contraceptive need, and unintended pregnancy among women veterans served by the VA are similar to those in the US population, these rates are suboptimal in both populations, with over a quarter of women who are at risk for unintended pregnancy not using prescription contraception, and unintended pregnancies accounting for over a third of all pregnancies.

Borrero S, Nikolajski C, Steinberg JR, Freedman L, Akers AY, Ibrahim S, Schwarz EB. "It just happens": a qualitative study exploring low-income women's perspectives on pregnancy intention and planning. Contraception. 2015;91(2):150-156.

  • Findings from semistructured interviews with low-income, Black and white women suggest that the current conceptual framework that views pregnancy-related behaviors from a strict planned behavior perspective may be limited, particularly among low-income populations